A Year Of Being A Starbucks Mug Collector

March 15, 2014 marks my first anniversary as a Starbucks mug collector! How fast time flies!

A Year Of Being A Starbucks Mug Collector

MY PERSONAL favorite icon mugs! Iloilo tops the list!

How it All Started

I started seriously collecting icon mugs when I was in Kuala Lumpur LCCT waiting for my flight to Kathmandu, Nepal. The sight of all 4 Malaysian icons in a single row in the display cabinet started my love of the icons!

To begin with, I am not a Starbucks fan for several reasons: 1. it’s expensive; 2. it’s expensive and 3, it’s expensive. Honestly, I prefer Coffee Bean and Tea Leaves over Starbucks – – before.

So at the airport, I got 1 set and brought it to Nepal with me. Luckily, all arrived home in perfect condition after 15 days traveling in Nepal and Malaysia. A year after I got them, they are no longer available and are said to be discontinued already! Guess what, I was able to bring home some spare in my recent trip to Kuala Lumpur few days ago.

A Year Of Being A Starbucks Mug Collector

The first and the last set I bought is Malaysia icons. They are now gone forever in Starbucks stores!

Statistically Speaking
My first Starbucks mugs are California and San Francisco which were given as a gift by a good friend last February 2013. I have been to the US before but never bought any mug. Then, the US icons were still in stores. A year after, I was able to acquire 45 out of 50 US icon mugs. Seattle 1, Tampa, Utah, Forth Worth and Jacksonville are still missing though a kindhearted collector has promised me already Forthworth and perhaps Tampa and/or Jacksonville.

A Year Of Being A Starbucks Mug Collector

Team USA is not yet complete and I need everyone’s help!

I personally hand-picked all my Philippine icons. I have traveled just to get them. I drove all the way to Baguio down to Naga – the last icon that completed my Team Philippines. It took me 3 times to return to Naga just to get 1 piece. Imagine driving for 8 hours just to get 1 mug.

A Year Of Being A Starbucks Mug Collector

Team Philippines. Rumors have it that perhaps 2 more new mugs will be released 😉

Then I learned of Fred Orange. It was with FO that I got lots of my mugs. I am thankful to my German mugging friends who traded with me, without them, I could have hardly made it to 300 icons.

Today, I have 305 icons in my cabinet and awaiting for the arrival of 18 other icons which have been in the customs months ago. So that makes my collection 323 out of 355, should customs release them and arrive to me all in one piece.

Team USA is not complete yet but I am hopeful to have them all!

Team Germany minus the 3 new releases

Team Canada.  I originally have 2 Canada icons but i traded them.  I am expecting 2 more from friends

Team Canada. I originally have 2 Canada icons but i traded them. I am expecting 2 more from friends

Team Mexico.  I originally have Guanajato and Vera Cruz but I gave it to a friend.  I am expecting to have them again from a trade

Team Mexico. I originally have Guanajato and Vera Cruz but I gave it to a friend. I am expecting to have them again from a trade

Lessons Learned

  1. Collecting Starbucks icon mugs is expensive and involves spending lots of money. However, I find it as an investment. The value of Starbucks icon mugs never depreciate.
  2. Collecting Starbucks icon mugs needs time and energy. I flew to some countries just to buy mugs to trade and to sell.
  3. Collectors will either hate you or love you. I don’t mind. No one can please everybody. To each his own.
  4. Hoarding helps you get the mugs you want. And I have benefited from hoarding new releases. Again, not all may appreciate it, but it works. After all, not everyone can afford to spend to get as much mugs as possible.
  5. You gain friends. All sort of friends. In my case, as I have always been, I chose my friends. I don’t need many friends. I prefer to have a handful real and honest friends than to have bunch of assholes.
  6. It was a mistake on my part not to prioritize the more expensive mugs first. I now realized that I should have spent more on buying the discontinued icons rather than acquiring the new ones.
  7. Treat the mugs as gold and diamonds. They are.

What I love About Collecting Starbucks Mugs

  1. It’s therapeutic and stress reliever
  2. It gives a different kind of fulfillment
  3. It gives some sort of bragging rights
  4. It is a good topic to start a conversation
  5. It’s never ending. New mugs will be out while the world is sleeping
  6. It keeps me busy and appreciate things others ignore
  7. It’s a prime investment!
  8. It’s a good medium to know who are real and fake people!

What I hate About Collecting Starbucks Mugs

  1. It’s addictive
  2. It’s expensive
  3. It’s habit forming
  4. It consumes so much of my time!

Some Fun Facts About Starbucks Mugs

  1. A mug is either Made in China (MIC) or Made in Thailand (MIT). The former is preferred.
  2. A mug is either a Collector Series (CS) or and ordinary one. The former is more sought after. However, there are mugs without collector series just like in the case of Philippine mugs
  3. There are mugs but there was never a Starbucks store that opened in that place! Zagreb (in Crotia) and Leige (in Belgium) are example. Though the number of mugs are very few.
  4. There are mugs with wrong designs like in the case of Nijmegen (in Netherlands)
  5. There are city icon mugs but not a country icon mug. Example is Tokyo, Osaka and Sapporo but there is no Japan. Also the case of US mugs, there is no USA but there are city and state mugs.
  6. Discontinued Mugs (DC) are categorized as Very Hard to Find (VHTF), Hard To Find (HTF) or Hard to Get (HTG). Example are the US, Mexican and Canada mugs.
  7. DC mugs can be extremely expensive. 1 set of complete US icon mug costs not lower than 300,000.00 which is even considered a friendly price!
  8. There are different kinds of Starbucks mugs – icon or city mugs, relief mugs, artistry mugs, Architecture mugs, etc etc etc. I only collect the former as they are more valuable.
  9. There are 355 icon mugs released since Beijing Olympics in 2008.
  10. There is no single person in the world that has a complete collection of the icon mugs (unless he/she doesn’t like the world to know about it yet).
  11. The Starbucks Headquarter displays all icon mugs including the prototypes
305 out of 355 icon mugs after a year of collecting. bad or not bad records?

305 out of 355 icon mugs after a year of collecting. bad or not bad record?



140 replies »

  1. Hi there i’ve read your blog and I am amaze of what you have collected. I am a new collector and I only have 4 mugs right now. Sometimes starbucks mugs are really hard to find.

  2. Wow!!! I think that is a great record! I have been collecting tumblers, but also collecting A mug! haha such a shame I only have 1 mug and you have 300++. I wish and hope you will be able to complete the whole collection, and it that case please let me see them personally!👍😄

  3. wow! amazing indeed! yes, such collection is a gets me wanting from one mug to another mug. luckily, there are really good friends to help to collect the mugs 🙂 I started last year in July and got only 30 mugs..but mostly free gifts from friends. I hope I can meet you and see your collection during my vacation n Manila.

  4. Nice job sir. Hope I can collect just as much!

    Hoping to find Malaysia-Penang-KL-Sabah mugs in one store next week. *crossed fingers*

    More tips in collecting please! Especially for us beginners. More power!

    Ponching from Manila.

  5. Nik, there are people who have completed the ’08 Series (pending the release of the new one).

  6. very nice record! 1 year w/ 305! amazing! I know some collectors missing only 5pcs or so hehe btw I think Malaysian mugs are back on shelves 🙂 any extra to spare there? haha

  7. Wow! I just “seriously” started collecting mugs less than a year, but i only have 50 so far. I have not tried trading overseas yet coz i’m a bit scared. Usually i got my mugs/tumblers through my relatives and officemates travelling abroad. It’s addicting and therapeutic 😉 i came across your blog coz i’m searching on display cabinets. Very inspiring and informative. Thanks!

  8. Wow! Makes me drool! As a newbie mugger, parang nalula ako sa dami ng mugs nyo. Just started collecting pa lang. Dreaming of having those mugs of yours.

  9. My first mug was given to me as a gift from California. I went to Ilocos Sur but forgot to look for Starbucks lol

    Hope you complete your collection soon! 🙂

  10. im fascinated with your collections,OMG! .as of now i only got my first mug will be my inspirations.Too bad i missed buying Manila and Philippine Mugs.i guess i shld.start frm,.where I’am right now.Taiwan ..more to go on me.

  11. Hi Nik, until now, I am still in awe for the Vietnam and Makati icon mugs that you sent and gave it eventually – for free!!! I wish i can repay your kindness. Hope to see you real soon.
    PS I love reading your blogs. Pashare ha! :D.

  12. All you said about collecting Starbucks mugs are true….and by the way, happy to have met and traded with you.

  13. im starting to collect mugs. Im into YAH now coz I find it so hard now to catch up. WOuld love to trade and buy from you soon if you have extras. 🙂 Now when can we visit that museum of yours. 😉

  14. Such a great collection. Thanks for the fun facts, i learned something new, specially the terms. I have a few mugs which i got from my travels and as gifts from family and friends. Really don’t need to spend so much as long as you got good connections. 🙂

  15. WOW!! Such an amazing and awesome collection! So far, I only have 3 thumblers and 2 mugs.. Seeing your collection make me a little bit jealous and wanna collect more. Hehehe!! Cheers, to more travel and more Starbucks mug to collect!

  16. Hi, i been following you for almost few months now and i could say ur really amazing. I am a new collector for starbucks icon mug and so far i had 25 together with the tumblr. Like you i started when I was in KL Malaysia where i used to work before. Since its one of my passion is to travel thats where i get the idea to start as a souvenir. I bought only few mugs but most of them was from my family and friends.

    Anyway, anyone who is interested in trading kindly let me know. I had CEBU and THAILAND with me ☺️

  17. Wow! That’s a LOT of mugs! At the moment, I have 11 mugs (London, England, Sao Paulo, Brasil, Amsterdam, Toronto, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Cebu and Tagaytay) and 1 SG tumbler. I’ll be going to KL again and will definitely buy the Malaysia mug, and Brunei too. I don’t consider myself a collector (with the number that I have, yeah right!). I think, I am more or an “appreciator” than a “collector.”

    Anyway, good luck on your quest to complete the collection! I hope to see your treasures soon.

  18. Such an amazing collection ..!! I am a newbie, collecting mugs n tumblers just for fun and regret why I didn’t start earlier….:-). Looking at my collection – always bring back my memories when I visited these cities n how hard to get the mugs home. Do you have Indonesian’s mugs also?.

  19. Awesome collection! I just started my collection I have only 3 mugs so far from Bali, Indonesia and South Korea. I collect them in my travels that I visit. Going to Thailand and have a layover in japan this December 2014 so I’m excited to add more mugs to my collection

  20. Big WOW!!Starting this year, Im starting to collect both mugs and tumblers… Its amazing that you almost completed the SB city mugs, where can I get these stuffs, i want to add up my collections too.

  21. Big WOW!!Starting this year, Im starting to collect both mugs and tumblers… Its amazing that you almost completed the SB city mugs, where can I get these stuffs, i want to add up my collections too.

  22. i’m impressed. i wish I travelled more. i just bought some on ebay. didn’t think about fake ones, so nervous until they arrive… any tips on how to spot them?

  23. Wow! I’ll be more than happy to have even just a quarter of your collection for a year.. I just started collecting a month ago and currently only have 4 mugs.. Your post made me sooo excited to have more!!

  24. wow! bravo! 🙂 im collecting starbucks tumblers. but i find collecting mugs more interesting after reading your blog. good read! two thumbs up for you *clap clap*

  25. New collector here. I’m about to complete my Philippine series (only need 6 more I think). I hope you can give tips on spotting fake mugs.

  26. Wow great collection . I’m collecting starbucks mugs and tumblers too still have a few i am so inspired with what you’ve got though its hard to achieve for me. AWESOME.

  27. Hi truly starbucks mugs are gems. I’m so happy for you, you inspire me to collect more. Been a collector for 6 years but I have less than 50. Hope to meet you someday and trade… Thank You!

  28. Hi I have a question! How did you get these mugs? All the mugs I’ve ever found are the shorter ones with a wider mouth. They typically come in the green boxes. I love the original mugs that you have collected. I have found that most Starbucks retail stores I go to no longer carry those original mugs. Awesome collection by the way! I’m inspired!

    • hi there. some i got myself, some i traded, some i bought from other collectors. the mugs i collect are called starbucks icon mugs. they are no longer available in usa, canada, japan, south korea and indonesia. the ones you see now with green boxes are called yah or you are here mugs. cheers.

  29. Good day! Is there a group here in the Phil who are active in this hobby of collecting starbucks mugs? What is the name of the popular groups? Thanks.

  30. Hi, i admire your collection a lot. I planned to start collecting icons in 2009 but hesitated due to its addictive. But then, when I went to KL last September, i couldn’t resist and ended picking my first 2 tumblers. now, i have 26 in total. i hope we can meet and i can see your collection. 🙂

  31. wow! so many mug *envies* hehe, i only have one which is Canada given to me by my friend because she cant find the tumbler, i collect tumbler.
    i didnt even know that malaysia is discontinued glad i already have one

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.